How to Grow Organic Mushrooms


There are thousands of species of mushrooms; of those thousands, only 250 are edible. Of those, only a few are good for cultivation. To grow organic mushrooms you need to be able to control many aspects of the environment. The choice of mushroom you grow will depend on where you live.

Step 1

Choose one of two methods to grow mushrooms: By wood logs harvested from the forest or by making a sawdust log. The wood log will take longer to produce mushrooms, but will yield a better quality; sawdust-grown mushrooms can yield a consistent crop, but take more time to harvest.

Step 2

Choose the type of mushroom to grow. While all mushrooms can grow in the wild, not all mushroom types can be grown by man. Research the type of mushroom you want to grow to ensure that it is not a type that can only grow wild. Good mushrooms to start with are oyster and shiitake varieties, according to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Consideration must be given to what growth medium is readily available, the environment, the equipment available, the skill and cost needed to grow your chosen organic mushroom and the market demand if you plant on growing commercially.

Step 3

Pick the location to grow your organic mushrooms. If you use the wood log method you will need a large area to stack logs. It should also be a damp and shaded area.

Step 4

Look for hardwood timber to make logs from; this includes beech, birch, cottonwood, oak, sweetgum and willow varieties. Choose trees with a diameter of between four and six inches.

Step 5

Use the saw to cut four-foot logs; these are a good size for both production and moving. Keep the logs off of the ground to avoid contamination from any pathogens from the soil. Move the logs carefully to avoid damage to the bark to ensure competing fungi don't invade the log.

Step 6

Soak the logs in water to saturate the wood. This will help to stimulate fruiting of the spawn into the mushrooms. Set the logs in a pyramid stack and allow the logs to rest for three weeks.

Step 7

Drill holes into each log every six to eight inches the depth of a spawn dowel. Drill holes around the complete circumference of the log with the holes starting from two inches from either end.

Step 8

Inoculate the logs with the spawn by inserting the dowels or sawdust into the holes. Push the spawn completely down into the hole. Protect the logs from the sun and wind during this time because the log can be dehydrated, causing the spawn to dry out and die. Use the beeswax covering described in Step 9 of this section.

Step 9

Put the old pot on the stove. Put a stick of beeswax into the pot. Melt the beeswax. Use the paintbrush to paint the wax over the holes of the logs as a way to protect the spawn from contamination.

Step 10

Stack the logs in a teepee fashion with the logs meeting at the top. Tie the tops together with string. Allow the mushrooms to develop within six to 12 months.

Step 11

Harvest the mushrooms during the spring and autumn. The logs can be forced to produce twice more by soaking the logs. Harvest the mushrooms daily.

Things You'll Need

  • Hardwood logs
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Spawn
  • Old pot
  • Beeswax
  • Paintbrush
  • Twine


  • National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
  • Sustainablog: How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Agro Forestry Center: Mushroom Cultivation
  • Growing Shiitake Mushroom: Set Up a Shiitake Mushroom Farm
Keywords: growing organic mushrooms, organic mushroom cultivation, growing log mushrooms

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.